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  #1  
Old June 23rd, 2006, 09:43 AM
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Default ico questions

Are the icon files as "full up" as the oobs?
Can new icons be added reasonably easily?

My thinking is this - across several threads there have been comments that some units like Brandenbergers, certain panzer variants, captured armour etc take up a slot but are rarely used and could be easily represented by manually building the unit in the scenario editor. A hopefully simple solution would be to create a set of "User" icons that could be grafted onto an existing unit to create an new unit. For example - to get a German Somua, load a French one and switch the icon to the German one from the User set. For the various panzer variants, tweak the values of the closest unit and switch the graphic.

Same for armoured trains of course

AI wouldn't be able to make these picks of course but that should be a minor concern for most battles.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: ico questions

Quote:
PatG said:
Are the icon files as "full up" as the oobs?
Can new icons be added reasonably easily?

My thinking is this - across several threads there have been comments that some units like Brandenbergers, certain panzer variants, captured armour etc take up a slot but are rarely used and could be easily represented by manually building the unit in the scenario editor. A hopefully simple solution would be to create a set of "User" icons that could be grafted onto an existing unit to create an new unit. For example - to get a German Somua, load a French one and switch the icon to the German one from the User set. For the various panzer variants, tweak the values of the closest unit and switch the graphic.

Same for armoured trains of course

AI wouldn't be able to make these picks of course but that should be a minor concern for most battles.
the game master icon list is already there for you to read - SPWW2-MasterIcon.txt. It will tell you if a slot is currently free. (but future revisions may use such, of course).

Quote:

For example - to get a German Somua, load a French one and switch the icon to the German one from the User set
Only of use if you want to restrict such units to scenario-only units, and also possibly liable to corruption is future game exes have a different icon assignation for the one that the scenario designer pokes in.

However - the unit really needs to be in the GE OOB as the Germans will use thier own formations, have thier own radio codes etc. "Buy Allies" even as "captured" will use the French (say) platoon/coy organisation, radio codes, weapon designations etc, simply replacing the crews names and training values with the target nation.

Cheers
Andy
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: ico questions

Quote:
Mobhack said:
the game master icon list is already there for you to read - SPWW2-MasterIcon.txt. It will tell you if a slot is currently free. (but future revisions may use such, of course).

Ok. I was angling for an officially sanctioned permanent icon set that could be added to.

Quote:
Mobhack said:
Only of use if you want to restrict such units to scenario-only units, and also possibly liable to corruption is future game exes have a different icon assignation for the one that the scenario designer pokes in.
Scenario only would be fine and is the point - move the truely odd and rare kit out of slots and picklists.

Quote:

However - the unit really needs to be in the GE OOB as the Germans will use thier own formations, have thier own radio codes etc. "Buy Allies" even as "captured" will use the French (say) platoon/coy organisation, radio codes, weapon designations etc, simply replacing the crews names and training values with the target nation.

Cheers
Andy
Maybe the Somua was a bad example. But could one buy a troop of Pzkw38-T and hack their values into Flam Char Bs or whatever and add the right icon.

I am reminded of an ancient C64 game that used generic units but provided a table of values for the user to poke in to make anything from a Sherman to a M60. - A do it your self paper based OOB/Mobhack if you will.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: ico questions

What you are asking for realy would require massive modifications to the basic game engine, to deal with the fact that the OOB database has a finite limit. And enthusiastic developers will always go to the limit, whatever that happens to be - we thought that 999 units would solve our problems, but in reality it just provided space for a bit more "clutter" that I would not have bothered with myself.

If the game engine were to be redesigned as you are suggesting, (which would take a year at least) then use of a proper (SQL?) database might be the correct way to go (though speed may be an issue as it means searches through an entire table of say units for everyone, not an individual data file in memory). Paradox, or maybe MySQL.

SQL however, is a real problem for end-user database changes to be propogated. the WW2 databases are nearly 7MB as they stand. I already have an internal utility using Paradox that extracts the unit and weapon data to basic tables, and that expands to 10MB of tables and index files (with no formation data), just for basic searching. Any sort of database that treats the database as a "DB" file which wraps all the files that paradox does separately into a singular lump, would probably be a real headache!

Any end-user changes would require the entire database to be sent, as all the units and weapons etc are in tables and not individual OOB files.

Sure, I could write an SQL update file of a few KB that could be run through an SQL-enabled mobhack type utility as a batch fix (been there, got the souvenir t-shirt and mug, doing local authority databases for elections management and licensing systems) - but almost all end users would be clueless as to how to write such. They would use the mobhack type utility to add changes on a screen-by screen individual update basis, like a local council employee adding a new taxi firm forex, and then have to send a copy of the entire DB to anyone interested in thier mod. To write SQL updates, they would need the entire database schema to be published, and then they would need to read and understand SQL. Which looks simple at first, and then gets complicated when you try to do anything worthwhile, especially updates rather than queries

SQL databases also need the tweaking of ODBC data sources and such like, and make the use of multiple installations of databases (e.g. a fan mod ACW version) a real pain to do. They also can be a pain to write installation routines for. And things like ODBC are maybe windows-specific and so anyone using WINE on Linux may be defeated by such?.

Any new game engine therefore needs some sort of extensible database, rather than a hard limit, but the SQL database route may not be the one to pick. I already have some ideas for a flat-file based extensible DB solution, should I get round to designing a completely new game system (perhaps as a part of the degree course I join in September, as an "extra-mature" student .

Cheers
Andy
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Old June 24th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Default Re: ico questions

I apologize if I didn't express myself clearly. My idea stems from thinking about how to handle armoured trains but can be applied to other units. It is not based on down to the millimeter accuracy but on a set of is like a statements. A locomotive is like a prime mover with 1-2 points of armour and a bit bigger. A German pursuit car is like a Pzkw IV but a bit smaller. A tank carrying car is like a Spanish tank carrying truck with some armour. An armoured passenger car is like a bus with 1 point of armour. And so on. (Note: I don't expect these trains to move)

Same for other units, a Calliope is like a Sherman with rockets on top (yes I know this one exists already - its early in the morning and I can't think of a good example). The ability to change values is already present in the scen editor, the only thing missing is suitable graphics.


What I am proposing would be:

1) A set of icons representing rare or unusual units that would normally only be used in a scenario and not in a one off battle vs AI or a campaign.
2) No oob slots would be used.
3) If the art is up to scratch, the icon set could be officially sanctioned to prevent future corruption.
4) For use by scenario designers only. AI excluded by intent.
5) Scenario designers would hack existing unit values and apply the appropriate icon to produce the unit.
6) A list in text form could be drawn up of accepted values for various units. Scenario designers could then plug these values in using the scenario editor.
7) Any new weapon would be represented by an exisiting weapon that is close enough.

eg "To make a Blacker Bombard, use this gun with this many HE this many HEAT this many crew, a move of this .... and use Icon Number xxx".

No oob slots needed. No change in coding. No new DBs. Just some decent art and a .txt file of values.

A big immediate benefit would be the ability to move some of the really esoteric kit out of the crowded OOBs. List the values and icon numbers in a txt file and scenario designers can use them to their hearts content.

My main concern is: are there enough icon slots left to do this? It looks like there are but I'm not certain what has been reserved.

Thanks for your patience.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: ico questions

This is similar to thoughts I had some months back once Andy added the ability to change Icons in a sceanrio with Scenhack. If you look at sceanrio 37 "Valentines day air drop" with the editor you will see grounded Dutch "aircraft" have been added to that sceanrio that are , in fact, "Utility vehicles" that have been added simply to be targets for the Japanese Bombers. With Scenhack all you need to do is know the Icon number and you can change anything into anything else. STATIONARY Trains could be added in that way and I MAY add Icons like that at some point IF and when I can work up the enthusiasm to do so.

However, your idea "the ability to move some of the really esoteric kit out of the crowded OOBs" is NOT a viable idea as those units may be in use in sceanrio and regular games and really... there is ONLY one OOB that is even remotely close to being "full" and just about anything that's not in the German OOB now REALLY doesn't need to be there. There will not be any removal of units UNLESS they can be proven to be unnecessary AND not used in any sceanrio and right now aside from a handful of Brandenburgers there aren't any


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Old June 24th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: ico questions

Ok thanks again for listening.
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